There are over 2 million construction workers in the UK. Construction sites are hazardous places as there are so many groups of people from different companies performing multiple tasks.
Even though the industry only accounts for 5% of all employment, it has the highest level of reported injury (10%) and fatalities (22%). The largest number of accidents have been from falling from height, such as from scaffolding or from ladders.
The main contractor or employer has a duty of care to ensure health and safety for everyone in the
workplace. To protect, to a reasonable level, all workers, contractors and visitors from harm with safe working methods. To provide sufficient safety protection and adequate training.
For a claim to be successful, it is necessary to prove that an individual, company or organisation did not provide a reasonable standard of care that could have prevented the accident and injury.
There are a number of regulations to help protect construction site workers including:
The construction Health Safety and Welfare regulations 1996.
The Lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations 1998.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (introduced to ensure safe levels of working at height).
Most recently the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 was introduced to improve health and safety on construction sites with greater integration of all parties involved by better planning and management.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) are responsible for construction site inspections and where breaches have occurred, prosecute those responsible. However they are not involved in claims for compensation.
In the workplace it may be necessary to make a claim under the Employers insurance if there has been negligence or a breach of statuary duty. Compensation may be claimed, even if an accident was caused by the negligence of a colleague.
It is important to establish whose business the accident took place at, and who was in control at the time. Self employed persons are still entitled to a reasonable standard of health and safety in their workplace by the main contractor or employer.
There is a time limitation of 3 years after the accident in which to make a claim.
Levels of compensation Guidance is provided by the Judicial Studies Board (JSB). These are determined
by which part of the body has been affected and how serious the injuries are, as well as the time needed for rehabilitation.
General damages will be claimed for pain, suffering and trauma. Whether ongoing long term medical care and treatment may be required.
A serious accident might have left the individual paralysed or brain damaged.
Consideration will need to be made for any loss of earnings during recovery. In the worst case scenario a return back to work may not be possible.